Tuesday, October 22, 2019

In the Spotlight: Nan Sanders Pokerwinski's Mango Rash, A Memoir

Mango Rash: Coming of Age in the Land of Frangipani and Fanta
by Nan Sanders Pokerwinski
Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog. I have anticipated this day for a l-o-n-g time. My friend and talented writer, Nan Sanders Pokerwinski's memoir, Mango Rash: Coming of Age in the Land of Frangipani and Fanta, released today! 

We have been critique buddies for years. I was privileged to read her drafts of this book and brainstormed with her along the way. Now to see the actual book and turn its pages means it's time for a celebration! 

So put on your best flowered shirt, place a flower in your hair, a fragrant lei made of frangipani flowers around your neck and grab a bottle of orange Fanta. Feel the sun on your face and the gentle breezes ruffle your hair. Get in the tropical mood because Nan's book takes you away to the beautiful island of Samoa.
Mango Rash: Coming of Age in the Land of Frangipani and Fanta
by Nan Sanders Pokerwinski
Nan Sanders Pokerwinski


Moving to a South Pacific island from small-town Oklahoma, sixteen-year-old Nancy Sanders trades cruising Main Street in search of tater tots for strolling sandy shores with islanders who serenade sharks and feast on sea worms. With a dash of teenage sass, MANGO RASH chronicles Nancy's search for adventure—and identity—in two alien worlds: the tricky terrain of 1960's adolescence and the remote and rapidly-changing U.S. territory of American Samoa. In spite of palm trees and ocean breezes, island life is not one big beach party, Nancy finds when she clashes with her parents over forbidden boys, discovers double standards in the expat community, and cowers through a hurricane.

Like Nancy, readers of this unforgettable memoir will fall in love with Samoa's lava-rimmed beaches, frangipani-laced air, and open-hearted people, who face adversity with grace. And just as Nancy does when her own health crisis thrusts her into a very different kind of unfamiliar territory, readers will draw strength from fa'a Samoa: the Samoan Way. In language as lush as the island landscape, MANGO RASH enchants, entertains, and, ultimately, inspires with its message about embracing and learning from other cultures.
Mango Rash Buy Links:

Image by MustangJoe from Pixabay 
 MY REVIEW: Escape to the island of American Samoa and be swept away by its beauty and its story.  In her new release, Mango Rash, author Nan Pokerwinski takes readers along with her to this tropical place using her lyrical language, unique metaphors and warm and witty storytelling. In the 1960s, Nan's father signed up the whole family for the two-year commitment to work as a medical doctor at the island's hospital. 

Nan, at 16, worried about being an "outsider" in this unknown way-of-life". Yet, being tired of the hum-drum life in Stillwater, Oklahoma, she looked forward to something different and interesting. She hadn't planned to fall in love with the island, its people, the culture, and a boy. 

At the same time she was growing and changing, the Samoan culture was transforming due to the influence of America in their land. The comparison of Nan's struggles with adolescence against the backdrop of a changing Samoan culture fascinated me.

I thoroughly enjoyed the memories of the era so well recorded in this true memoir. I bonded with Nan when she referred to the times with songs like the Girl from Ipanema, the music of the Beach Boys, Tangee lipstick, Dippity Do. They were a flashback to my teen years, and I relished in the nostalgia. 

I recommend this book for readers of memoirs and those who love the '60's and anyone who enjoys a story filled with warmth, humor, snarkiness, deep emotion and sass.

Author Nan Sanders Pokerwinski

Nan Sanders Pokerwinski is a former science writer for the Detroit Free Press and the University of Michigan, whose award-winning work (under the byline Nancy Ross-Flanigan) has appeared in numerous other magazines, newspapers, and online publications. 

Click here to visit Nan's blog, Heartwood, which focuses on creativity, connection, and contentment.

When she's not writing, Nan takes photographs, makes collages, and wanders the woods around the West Michigan home she shares with her husband Ray Pokerwinski.



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J.Q. Rose said...

Nan, thanks for sharing such a rich story with us. Delighted to be part of the celebration of your new release. Wishing you great success!

Jacqui said...

What a title! And cover. Sounds quite interesting.

Nan P said...

Thanks so much for putting Mango Rash in the spotlight. I'm grateful for all your support while Mango Rash came of age!

Nan P said...

I started out with a different title, Jacqui, but it was kind of boring and took too much explanation. I thought "Mango Rash" was more intriguing.

J.Q. Rose said...

Jacqui, even if Nan weren't my friend, I would tell you this is an excellent read. Maybe I enjoyed it as a teen in the '60s and I loved "going back" to the good old days. But even if you didn't grow up in the '60s, many readers will identify with the growing pains a teen has to go through. That's universal and what makes this such a compelling read. Thank you for stopping by.

J.Q. Rose said...

Nan, The journey to writing and publication has been one I have enjoyed traveling with you. You are such a talented writer. Best wishes during this launch week and beyond!

Helena Fairfax said...

This sounds a fascinating read, JQ and Nan, and what a wonderful experience. I would love to visit Samoa, and to get to spend some time there. I can see why it made such a lasting impression. Thanks for sharing your story.

Nan P said...

Thank you, Helena! I hope you'll have a chance to visit Samoa someday. Meanwhile, I hope you'll be transported there when you read Mango Rash.

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